At the beginning of May, when the severity of COVID19 became apparent to everyone, UC President Janet Napolitano announced that she and the UC Chancellors would take a 10% pay cut for the coming fiscal year and committed to keep workers employed to “alleviate concerns about income and job security.”
Just weeks later, after the public learned that UC was sitting on $10 billion of unrestricted reserves and $750 million in Federal COVID relief funds, UC Administrators hypocritically changed their tune and starting imposing layoffs on its lowest paid workers. In early June, UC announced that thousands of UC workers could expect to be laid off. Raul Hernandez, Sr. Cook, is one of the 77 laid off workers at UC Riverside, and one of the 282 laid off AFSCME 3299 members system wide.
“We’re the lowest paid workers, most of whom are Latinos, and our household’s main income. We have to put food on the table, keep a roof over our heads, and protect our health insurance. Losing our jobs just puts us further at risk,” Raul said.
The 10% cut to the Chancellors’ salaries adds up to a total savings of $538,212, and as reported by The Highlander, the Chancellors will continue to take home a generous paycheck. For example, the base salary for UC Riverside’s Chancellor Wilcox, who is one of the lowest paid Chancellors in the UC system, earned a salary of $431,256 in 2019. Meanwhile, the average annual salary of the laid off workers is $40,000. The sum total of projected savings that UC will achieve by displacing its lowest paid workers at UC Riverside amounts to only 0.00002% of its total operating budget.
“What I want our community to understand is that on top of their salary, the Chancellors also have other privileges,” said Raul, “UC gives them free housing. They live in huge mansions where they get Chefs to cook for them and workers to clean for them. They bask in all these privileges. Who lives like that? No one!”
Raul and his coworkers have been paying home caravan visits to Chancellor Wilcox so that he can see who is being hurt by UC’s decision to lay off workers during a global pandemic. Help workers like Raul put pressure on UC Chancellors to do the right thing, click here to take action.